Box Breathing

Box breathing, or square breathing, is a deep breathing technique that can help you calm your breathing. This technique works by distracting your mind as you count to four, calming your nervous system, and reducing stress in your body.

Box breathing is a simple but effective relaxation technique that can assist you in reestablishing a relaxed breathing pattern. It can help you focus and clear your mind.   

Benefits of box breathing

Box breathing can be useful in many situations such as:

  • Coping with panic and stress when feeling overwhelmed. By counting, you can take your focus off the panic-producing situation and control your response.
  • If you are experiencing insomnia, it may help you fall asleep.
  • By controlling your breathing rhythmically, it is possible to control hyperventilation.
  • When you have a busy or stressful day, it helps you refocus.
  • Reduces panic and anxiety.
  • Allows you to focus on the task at hand.
  • Especially helpful when making big decisions.
  • Reduces blood pressure and Cortisol, a stress hormone, which improves mood.

Before you begin

  • Try to be in a stress-free, quiet environment where you can focus on your breathing.
  • Sit in a chair, stand or lie on your back with one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Make sure your feet are firmly planted on the floor when you sit on a chair.
  • Breathe normally for one minute.
  • Pay attention to the rise and fall of your chest and stomach.
  • You are shallow breathing if you notice your chest rising while your stomach is not rising. If your stomach rises, it is a sign that you are deep breathing and your body is relaxing.
  • It is important to be aware of your breathing and to allow your stomach to rise as you breathe.
  • When you take a deep breath while lying down or sitting on a chair, you will feel your back pressed against the surface.
  • When practicing box breathing for the first time, push your stomach out while taking deep, smooth breaths.

When you’re ready, start with step 1.

Step one - Slowly exhale

Breathe in counting to four slowly. Feel the air enter your lungs.

Step two - Slowly inhale

Hold your breath for 4 seconds. Try to avoid inhaling or exhaling for 4 seconds.

Step three - Slowly exhale

Slowly exhale through your mouth for 4 seconds.

Step four - Repeat

Repeat steps 1 to 3 until you feel re-centered.